Trick or Treating Happiness

Yesterday was Halloween. We had scores of witches, bumble bees, ghouls and princesses trick or treat their way through the neighborhood. My spouse, CB, had considered handing out boxes of raisins as a healthier treat, but I was afraid the kids would seek vengeance and string toilet paper on our palo verde tree.

It’s ironic how something as innocent as considering the health of the little tykes could potentially backfire. However, mostly I remember how I felt when I was a kid and went out trick or treating and someone gave us a healthy snack. I didn’t vandalize their house, but I did resent it. My motto was “bring on the chocolate!” Actually, this motto still stands true today.

However, even though we try to be health conscious (with occasional lapses) we opted for distributing good sized bags of M&Ms. Not a nutritious choice, but I think our chocolate-inspired decision helps ingratiate us with the kids in the neighborhood.

My reasoning is not logical. Good nutrition is important and I know it. When the grandkids come over I feed them yogurt, vegetables and fruit. But on Halloween I make an exception. Part of this is nostalgic. My sister, Tina, now lives in my childhood home and on my numerous visits to the old neighborhood I pass by the homes I walked past as a kid. I can’t remember how to calculate fractions, but I can still remember who gave out the best treats for Halloween, who gave us apples, and who turned off their lights and pretended not to be at home.

Now that I’m older, I have a lot of friends who go out on Halloween so they don’t have to deal with the trick or treaters who come a-knocking. I think this avoidance tactic is sad. Some of my fondest memories as a child were dressing up and parading up and down the street with my siblings and friends. It was a rare person who didn’t stay home to pass out candy. Now I would guess nearly half of the folks in my neighborhood refuse to participate.

I’m sure folks have their reasons and I certainly shouldn’t judge. However, I can’t help but wonder if they have forgotten what it’s like to be young. I am no exception. The day after Halloween (today) I had softball practice. We’ve had it for several weeks, but because of work and other obligations I haven’t been able to go. It’s still hot in sunny Arizona so practice begins early. I am not morning person.

When I received the email about practice I wanted to blow it off again. Then my team mate Connie, who I haven’t seen in months, called me on the phone. Hearing her voice made me realize how much I miss playing and socializing with my softball chums. I got out to the diamond and it was like old times. I haven’t played in a few months so I’ve gotten a bit rusty, but it was just fun to be out there again.

Which brings me to the morale of the story (and yes, I always seem to have one.) Whether I’m handing out candy to the trick or treaters or trying to snag a grounder at second base, I not only remember what it’s like to be young when I am doing things I enjoy – I AM young again.

In my book Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within, Kimberly Kingsley discusses the importance of doing work you love and engaging in activities that energize and delight you. Here are a few tips from chapter 11.

•Find your passion in life, develop it and share it with the world.
•The positive energy you create from your expressions of love, gratitude and kindness will reverberate throughout the universe in the same way that a small pebble thrown into the middle of a still pond can send ripples across the water.

So my advice is to not become a grouch before your time. Find something you love and do it until you drop.

Sally Marks is the president of Marks Public Relations and the co-author of the self-help book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. The book is available on Amazon as well as many New Age book stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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